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Story: ‘Wrong Turn to Roswell’

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Art by Puppet-Eclipse (Heather Donahue) The robot girl Carbon gets hired on the spot by the Stellar Coffee Shop owner, Anne Baker, when she and her human friend Alan stop in.

Episode 18: Trouble in Roswell

By S.E. Smith

The children’s story, “Wrong Turn to Roswell,” by USA Today and The New York Times bestselling author S.E. Smith started with episode 1 and 2 in the Vision Magazine, published on Dec. 21, 2017. The magazines are available for free at rdrnews.com/special-publications.

The story continues in the Vision section of the Roswell Daily Record, which started Sept. 23.

What happened: A spaceship with a vacationing robot family had to land for repairs in the back of an artist’s welding studio in Roswell. The robot father Copper and their mother Diamond warn their son Iron and his sister Carbon to not get into trouble. Despite the warning, the kids run out after their dog Rover One and encounter two human boys, Alan and Matt. The boys promise to help, but the robots are in danger to be found because of Dr. Lancer who is an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. A mob gathers, but Alan has a plan. Together with the help of Stanton Friedman, Roswell Daily Record reporter Christina Stock, the Roswell Police Department’s Chief Deputy Shane Baker and the publisher of the Roswell Daily Record, Barbara Beck, the robots hide successfully in plain site as art in the welder studio of Alan’s mom. The next morning, they find out that photos were leaked, and the decision is made to announce the reality of alien robots in Roswell at the UFO Festival and GalactiCon planning committee meeting in the UFO Museum. The reception is friendly, but Iron and Matt sneak downstairs to meet the tourists with Alan and Carbon in pursuit to stop them, but they are too late and a confrontation with tourists and locals is unavoidable. Fortunately, it ends well. The next day, the robot kids attend school and Carbon saves Alan from a bully.

Thanks, for what you did today. I’m glad you didn’t get in too much trouble,” Alan said.

“Pete deserved what he got. I only gave him a little shock. Besides, once I replayed the events leading up to what happened to the principal, there wasn’t much Pete and the other boys could say to her — especially with the audio recording of them planning to bully you,” Carbon replied with a casual shrug.

“Yeah, that was a big help. I can’t believe she suspended Pete and his friends for three days and warned them that they’d be in a lot more trouble if they tried anything else,” Alan confessed.

Carbon laughed. “I think the fact that his hair is still standing straight up will help remind him,” she replied.

“Yep, that too,” Alan agreed with a grin.

Carbon smiled back at him. He really liked her smile. He pushed his hands into his front pockets. For some strange reason, he had the urge to hold her hand. That was just plain weird. He’d never once wanted to hold a girl’s hand before!

What was even stranger was the fact they were walking to Stellar’s Coffee shop to get a bite to eat. His mom said she’d pick them up there a bit later after she finished running some errands.

He looked over his shoulder. Iron and Matt were almost a block behind them. At least he wouldn’t be alone with Carbon — not that he would have minded. It wasn’t like they were going out or dating or anything, they were just a group of kids hanging out — that was all.

Alan took a deep breath and released it. He wasn’t interested in Carbon as in a boyfriend/girlfriend type of way. They were just — friends. She just happened to be really smart, and cute, and different, and fascinating to watch, and …

“Alan, did you hear me? I said I thought today was very interesting and asked if we were really going to dissect a tailless amphibian tomorrow?” Carbon asked.

Alan grimaced when he realized that he hadn’t been paying attention. He pulled his hand out of his pocket and pushed his glasses back up on his nose. It took a moment for his brain to register what she was talking about.

“Uh, not a real one. We’ll dissect a computerized version of a frog. Mr. Gabon said it was cheaper and that the school stopped doing real frogs because too many kids were protesting that it was cruel,” he replied.

“Oh, I like that better!” Carbon agreed.

“There’s Stellar’s Coffee Shop. They have some awesome sandwiches, desserts and smoothies. My mom gave me some extra money this morning, so if you want anything …,” Alan awkwardly said, motioning to the store.

Carbon nodded and checked to see if her brother and Matt were still behind them. “At least we didn’t lose Iron and Matt. I was afraid we had for a little while. I don’t know why Matt was complaining. It wasn’t that far to walk from the school,” she observed.

“Yeah, well, Matt is Matt. I don’t think he gets out much,” Alan commented.

Carbon grinned at him. “Neither does Iron. They make a good pair,” she laughed.

Alan returned her smile and hurried to open the door to Stellar’s for her. She swept past him into the quaint coffee shop. He looked down the street in time to see Iron and Matt disappearing into another store. He shook his head.

“Those two really are a lot alike,” he muttered under his breath before he stepped inside behind Carbon.

***

Two hours later, they exited the coffee shop and piled into Alan’s mom’s van. Matt and Iron took the very back seat while he and Carbon took the center seats.

“I can’t believe you have a job at Stellar’s,” Matt said.

“I can’t either! This is so cool. It was my first day of school and my first job on an alien planet!” Carbon said with excitement.

“How did that happened?” Jennifer Whitehead asked.

“The tourists loved her and Iron. Miss Anne would have hired Iron, too, but he didn’t want to work,” Matt said from the back.

“I’d work if it was something other than taking orders and cleaning tables. Hey, maybe we could be Stellar’s new band. Do you play any instruments, Matt?” Iron asked.

Alan leaned forward and rested his arm on the back of the driver’s seat. Behind him, Matt and Iron were talking about how they could start up a rock ‘n’ roll band and play gigs on the weekend. The only trouble is they’d have to learn how to play an instrument first, and it would help if one of them knew how to sing.

“A large group of tourists came in and Miss Anne needed some help today because she was short-handed. Carbon had been reading about all the different drinks and stuff, and because she has this amazing memory, she was able to tell the tourists about what was available. We started bussing the tables, too. It was fun,” he explained.

“The drinks are fun to make. Miss Anne asked me if I wanted a job and I said sure. Mom and Dad said we needed to fit in and I’ll only be working after school,” Carbon excitedly said.

“It doesn’t hurt that you’re an alien, either. The tourists were all getting pictures with her and Iron,” Alan added with a grin.

“Totally!” Carbon agreed with a laugh, echoing a new phrase she had learned from one of the tourists.

***

Ten minutes later, the group’s cheerful mood vanished. Alan leaned forward and warily stared out the windshield of the van. Their entire block was cordoned off by military vehicles. Soldiers were everywhere. A barricade blocked the driveway leading to their house.

“What’s going on? Why is the military here?” Alan nervously asked.

“I think they may have realized that aliens have really landed,” his mom quietly replied.

She slowed to a stop when a soldier standing near the barricade waved at her. Lowering the driver’s window, she looked at the soldier with a worried expression. The look on her face caused Alan to reach out for Carbon’s hand. Even Iron and Matt had grown quiet in the back.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but this area is off limits,” the soldier said.

“But … my house is right there,” Jennifer protested, motioning to her driveway.

The soldier peered into the van. Alan noticed his eyes widened when he saw Carbon. The soldier stepped back and motioned to another soldier standing nearby. Alan watched as the two men conversed for a moment. The second soldier spoke into a radio. Both men nodded and the first soldier returned.

“Move ahead slowly,” the soldier instructed.

Alan’s mom nodded and slowly drove through the opening once the barricade was moved.

“Mom, the military guys aren’t going to hurt Carbon and her family, are they?” Alan asked with growing alarm.

“Wrong Turn To Roswell continues June 30 with episode 19: The Roswell Revolt!

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY and international award-winning author of science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal and contemporary works for children, young adults and adults. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away. Smith was part of last year’s UFO Festival and GalactiCon where she gathered more information about the town and its people to include in her story. Smith has a book series about the fictitious town Magic, New Mexico, which was inspired by her first trip to our area in 2015 and is located somewhere between Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad. Readers can check out her website at sesmithfl.com and chat with her on Facebook at facebook.com/se.smith.5 or email her at sesmithfl@gmail.com.